Clinical Negligence

Clodagh’s clinical negligence practice, on behalf of Claimants and Defendants, has included a variety of obstetric claims spanning birth-related and other brain injuries, wrongful birth claims, Erb’s palsy, pre-eclamptic death, stillbirths, misdiagnoses of perineal injuries and ectopic pregnancies.  She has substantial experience in surgical cases, including live donor transplant surgery, cardiac and bowel surgery and optic nerve and brain surgery.  Clodagh is experienced in relation to GP negligence claims resulting in delayed diagnoses or mismanagement of various conditions including cancer and sepsis.  She is skilled in negotiating settlements at round table meetings or in mediations, including substantial settlements in relation to brain injuries, spinal cord injuries (including paraplegia and cauda equina syndrome), quadruple limb amputations secondary to sepsis and loss of sight (including blindness). Her recent practice had included interesting legal points arising in fatal claims (Rupasinghe), secondary victim claims (Werb) and vicarious liability / non-delegable duty issues in relation to a GP partnership where allegations of sexual assault are made in respect of a deceased GP.

Selected Cases

  • X v Y (2018): Clodagh is currently advising in respect of potential litigation relating to alleged sexual assaults by a deceased general practitioner and whether that GP’s surviving partners are vicariously liable and/or owed a non-delegable duty of care.
  • H v A NHS Trust (2018): Clodagh is currently instructed by C in relation to a perinatal brain damage case arising from delayed delivery as a result of alleged inappropriate management of shoulder dystocia.
  • M v Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (2018): instructed by C in relation to ‘wrongful birth’ claim arising out of Trust’s failure to screen for Down’s syndrome.
  • A v X NHS Trust (2018): instructed by D re ‘wrongful birth’ claim re failing to arrange first booking appointment before 20 weeks’ gestation after mother was referred at 18 weeks’ gestation and then failing to detect heart defect (AVSD) at scan so Down’s syndrome was undiagnosed.
  • S v 2 NHS Trusts (2018): Ds instruct Clodagh re adult Claimant with learning difficulties, encephalocele and VP shunt who alleges delayed management of blockage to shunt and developed bilateral blindness.
  • C v Z NHS Trust (2018): C instructs Clodagh in respect of antenatal / perinatal brain injury linked to undiagnosed gestational diabetes in a high risk mother.
  • L v X NHS Trust (2018): D instructs Clodagh on this quantum only claim pleaded at >£30m re neonatal hypoglycaemic brain injury resulting in severe learning and behavioural difficulties, requiring 24 hour care.
  • Z v X NHS Trust (2018): instructed by D in relation to brain damage caused to 9 week old baby while at home, who had previously been admitted with apnoea and a bruise, where non-accidental injury was suspected by local hospital, but tertiary referral centre disagreed.  After being returned home baby sustained brain injury suspected of having been caused by carer shaking the infant.
  • SB v Dr YW(2018): instructed by C in FAA claim re 49 year old man who saw GP with symptoms which she attributed to flu, but referred him for ECG in 3 days’ time.  He died that night in bed. Settlement achieved at RTM.
  • MW v University of Leicester NHS Trust [2017]: instructed by D in consent case relating to optic nerve surgery which resulted in near-blindness and c.£6 million damages were claimed. Settlement reached at mediation.
  • JD v WC [2017]: instructed by C re ongoing claim arising out of physiotherapy manipulation to neck causing total spinal cord injury and paraplegia.
  • NM v Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2017]: instructed by D in matter claiming c.£12 million re partial loss of 4 limbs and ischaemic bowel injury to 49-year old GP who required 24-hour care. Settlement achieved at RTM.
  • KF v Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust [2017]: instructed by D in this post -0.75% discount rate settlement of quantum only case re neonatal brain injury secondary to hypothermia and hypoglycaemia.
  • Justin Werb v Solent NHS Trust & The Priory Hospital, Southampton [2017]: instructed on behalf of the father of a 15 year old boy in his claim for nervous shock as a result of witnessing the immediate aftermath of the son’s suicide on a railway track after he had been released on home leave from psychiatric inpatient care. She successfully resisted a strike out application before Master Roberts.
  • Dr Rupasinghe (suing on her own behalf and as Administratrix of the Estate of Rohan Rupasinghe, deceased) v West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust [2016] EWHC 2848 (QB), Jay J: widow of the Deceased not entitled to recover difference between her UK and her Sri Lankan earnings as a doctor as part of her dependency claim under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, following her husband’s death as a result of the Trust’s negligent treatment.
  • K v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust (2016): delayed diagnosis / treatment of a perianal abscess leading to Fournier’s gangrene / necrotising fasciitis and sepsis, requiring extensive surgery including a permanent colostomy; furthermore C suffered strokes and myocardial infarction, resulting in brain damage. Clodagh achieved a substantial settlement at a pre-trial RTM on behalf of K.
  • T v Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2016): substantial settlement achieved for T where liability and quantum remained in dispute relating to 6 year delay in treatment and diagnosis of 4th degree perineal injury, resulting in severe physical and psychological sequelae including faecal incontinence and sexual dysfunction.
  • C & H v Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (2015): instructed for D in substantial fatal claim re suicide of 32 year old woman with severe post-natal depression.)
  • Middleton v Allen (2014): (defended a consultant neurologist at a trial at which he was accused of negligently failing to diagnose multiple sclerosis in a 49 year old patient in 1997, resulting in an alleged 13-year delay in diagnosis and treatment. In cross-examination the Claimant conceded all of the disputed facts and his expert ultimately conceded, under cross-examination, that there was no breach of duty on the part of Dr Allen, nor causation. The Claimant discontinued mid-trial.
  • K v Dr P (2014): instructed on behalf of a GP in a claim for alleged failure to urgently refer a 44 year old man following a complaint of back pain when he had history of cancer by his spine and was at risk of recurrence, causing delay in diagnosis and operative treatment until after he had developed sensory and motor dysfunction, such that he was paraplegic for last 28 months of his life.   Breach, causation and quantum were in dispute. Clodagh successfully negotiated the Defendant’s position at a RTM, such that the Claimant discontinued proceedings shortly before the trial and agreed to pay the Defendant’s costs.
  • AXB v Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust (2013): FAA claim arising from death of 27 year old woman 10 days after son’s birth due to untreated pre-eclampsia. Father developed PTSD. Case settled and approved for £850,000 and anonymity order obtained protecting family’s identity.
  • Blacker v Dr Hillman & Royal Berkshire NHS Trust: delayed diagnosis of cervical cancer, leading to early menopause, chronic pain syndrome, psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, inability to work and substantial care needs.
  • Quelcutti v Luckraj [2010]: £800,000 settlement in a delayed diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome claim.
  •  Sage v Ministry of Defence [2001] EWCA Civ 190, CA: knowledge under s.14A Limitation Act 1980 in claim re: failure to inform employee of hearing loss.
  • Brown v Lewisham & North Southwark HA [1998] Lloyd’s Rep Med 265: application of key causation authorities in claim involving complex medical facts.
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